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Saturday, February 15, 2020

     “Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’” (Lk 2: 27-32)

     Today, on the great feast of the Meeting of the Lord (OC), we’re celebrating an encounter of the Lord with an old man, Simeon, who allowed himself to be “guided by the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit guided him to “come into the temple” and to “see” with his own eyes, and embrace in his arms, a Child and the “...

Friday, June 28, 2019

    “Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.’” (Mt 9: 14-17)

     Today, on the final day of the Apostles’ Fast for NC-people, and on its fifth day for us OC-people, we have this reading on fasting. The Lord give...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

  “And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,’ then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.’” (Hebr 10: 15-17)

     As those of us on the Older Calendar celebrate St. Nicholas “the Wonderworker” today, I thank God for the “wonder” we continue to experience, as Church, at the presence and works of saints in our lives. It is a dignifying and even transfiguring kind of “wonder.” As we celebrate the unique tender-heartedness, compassion and helpfulness of our beloved St. Nicholas, who allowed God’s laws to be “written” on his heart and mind, our hearts are warmed and opened a bit more, to lett...

Friday, October 5, 2018

         “It is proper and right to hymn You, to bless You, to praise You, to give thanks to You, and to worship You in every place of Your dominion. For You, O God, are ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, existing forever, forever the same (ἀεὶ ὤν, ὡσαύτως ὤν), You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You brought us out of nothing into being, and when we had fallen away, You raised us up again. You left nothing undone until You had led us up to heaven and granted us Your kingdom, which is to come. For all these things, we thank You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit: for all things we know and do not know, for blessings manifest and hidden that have been bestowed on us.” (Eucharistic Prayer of St. John Chrysostom, Preface)

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

     “Priest: Let us lift up our hearts. (Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας. Горé имеим сердца.)People/Choir: We have them (lifted up) to the Lord. (Ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον. Имамы ко Господу.)“ (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

     The Eucharistic Prayer is not only a text, read (mostly) by our priest. It is also an action and an event, “done“ by the entire Church, all of us, as we gather by invitation of the Host of this event, our Lord Jesus Christ. And the “place“ where we get to meet our Host, if we suit up and show up to this event, is “above,“ in the Presence of God. This is an “above“ that becomes accessible to us, in our (down) here and now, as we “let ourselves“ be lifted up into communion with the God-Man Jesus Christ. It is He Who has elevated our humanity to the very Thro...

Saturday, July 21, 2018

     "And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Mt 12: 32-35)

     If I find myself “running off at the mouth,” or overtalking in a way that begins to burden my conscience, it’s time to examine not primarily my words, but my heart. It’s by and with my heart that I embrace what the Prayer of...

Friday, May 4, 2018

     “While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can any one forbid water for baptising these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 10: 44-48a)

     Right after St. Peter preached about Jesus Christ in the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, “the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word,” – “even on the Gentiles” who were not yet baptised. So, one might ask, did they even “need” to be baptised, if hearing the Good News t...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselve...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptised?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ And Paul said, ‘John baptised with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19: 1-6)

Today, on the “Leavetaking of Pascha,” with just ten more days to go until the Descent of the Holy S...

Monday, June 20, 2016

When the most High came down and confused the tongues, / He divided the nations; / But when He distributed the tongues of fire / He called all to unity. / Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-holy Spirit!” (Byzantine Kontakion-hymn of Pentecost)

This Kontakion-hymn refers to the division of nations in Genesis 11: 1-9, when the Lord confused the languages of the people, who had attempted to build a city and the so-called “tower of Babel,” the top of which was to “touch the heavens.” It was the people’s goal thus to ensure, as they said, “a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen 11: 3) But the Lord denied them such a unity, and “scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth.” Why? Because the people had intended a un...

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